Friday, June 15, 2007
Blue Sky Alert-Europe (Paris)...
Welcome to the first Blue Sky Alert dealing with Disneyland's beautiful, younger, European sister...
Disneyland Paris Resort.
Having just opened two of it's three new attractions at the starting point of it's fifteenth anniversary, the Resort has seen a sizeable increase in attendance over the past year. In fact, the Disneyland Paris Resort could be on in for the best year of attendance it has ever had. For the first time in a half a decade things are looking up for this troubled Disney resort.
Despite having the financial woes that it does, EuroDisneyland, err... Disneyland Paris is still the number one vacation destination in Europe. Much to the consternation of the French that once branded it a "cultural Chernobyl". Many of the French have embraced it as their own and although there are still squabbles from time to time... it appears the future ahead could be quite bright indeed.
There have been rumors about an F1 racing competition being held at Disneyland or directly across from the Resort. My contacts haven't received any concrete word about this proposal and I'm suspect to believe that it's a ploy by Bernie Ecclestone to use as a bargaining chip for another venue. It would make an interesting event, but there is no solid information I can come up with at the moment to cooberate it.
As far as Disney Village is concerned there is a proposal to expand it beyond it's current boundaries, including a theater show venue and new shops and restaurants. These are said to corrispond and enhance future "additions" to the Resort. The plans are for expanding the Resort as a vacation destination that doesn't just rely on the parks.
There are no current plans for hotels, although there are designs for hotels that were intended to be build as a Phase Two of the original EuroDisney which could be pulled out of mothballs should the parks attendance keep rising. Presuming the "heads in beds" continue to rise, that is.
Currently there are no plans to add a third gate to the Resort. The current economic climate just isn't suitable for it. If the park maintains substantial growth over the next few years and the European economy doesn't take another downturn, I'm sure there will be proposals within WDI that will peak Bob Iger's interest, but all signs now look toward improving existing venues and not building a new park that would require massive amounts of capital. Again, as I've said before... this is a good thing because it means the Resort will be getting more immersive and better attractions. And that's saying alot for a Resort that includes the "most" beautiful Disneyland park. WDI's new leadership has mounted an aggressive overview of all new projects. These projects include the plans that Imagineers have been toying with for implementation at DLRP over the next decade. Good times could lie ahead...
Like I was saying, the "most" beautiful park has been "plussed" for the fifteenth anniversary and looks marvelous. Disneyland Paris hasn't really had a major addition in quite a while. While the proposals for DLP aren't as bold or expensive as the ones for Walt Disney Studios they are still exciting plans. Unlike WDSP though, there isn't as much needed to be done to the original European Disney park. There have been proposals for the addition of a new land but so far they haven't made it very far in the blue sky phase. The most probable proposal are the addition of a new "E" ticket attraction in one of the current lands. Adventureland and Tomorrowland both have proposals that involve major attractions, although it is likely only one will be approved. The current Pirate craze has also had it's effect on some of the proposals and could affect Adventureland should some of the enhancements be approved.
There are plans for adding between two and three "C" or "D" attractions throughout the park over the next decade which could make the final cut. It won't be for at least a year, possibly more before plans are approved and 2009 before any really see the light of day.
There are plans to "plus" several areas throughout the park, but being as DLP is already richly layered, it won't be as extensive as WDLP or DCA. Plans include additional restaurants and a new proposal for a night show has been mentioned but final plans are nowhere near complete. Time will tell what makes the final cut.
It's not known yet if Walt Disney Studios Paris will get a name change like whatever they rename it's bigger, Orlando sister. It's possible if the current line-up of proposals goes forward a new name could happen by it's tenth anniversary but that's a decision that won't happen for a while.
No decision will be made on WDSP expansion and one won't be made until the anniversary is over... that being said, if the clicks going into the park keep moving up we can expect the Studio to appear dramatically different on it's tenth anniversary. The expansion of WDSP into a full day park, from the current half-day park it is will most likely not be complete by 2012, but the atmosphere would be quite different. The expansion would likely continue into 2013, like the way the fifth's will continue into next year with Tower of Terror's opening.
Anyone that's seen pictures of the new additions will note the quality of the theming. The new Toon Studio area is a much needed "plussing" of a park that was built short on rides and theming. With the opening of TOT and it's surrounding area the WDSP will get a much needed boost in appearance when it comes to representing what Disney fans expect when they go past the turnstiles. The entrance areas are getting a modest improvement in terms of theming as well. So far, the move appears to be working. The Suits are pleasantly surprised at the attendance so far...
There are several proposals that are on the table right now. WDI's leadership is evaluating each and everyone, not as a way to find what to cut but what can be added or enhanced. The final plans for this expansion wouldn't happen for years to be truthful. One has only to look at DCA to see how plans change.
The most logical proposal to move forward is for the Studio Tram Tour to be moved back for the construction of a new "E" ticket attraction. It's likely to not come about till early 2010 or 2011. It's not known if it will be an update of the Great Movie Ride or one of several other projects. A couple of proposals involve a major Disney character and one proposal is an import from another Disney theme park. The evolving plans right now involve the addition of two "E" tickets and at least four to six "D" or "C" tickets by the time WDSP ends it's tenth anniversary sometime in 2013. Cross yer fingers that the good times keep rolling and the European economy doesn't tank.
One of the proposals for the "E" ticket is based on a major movie franchise and fits in with Lasseter and the new regime's philosophy in branding the future of the Studio with a more family friendly theme. The possible addition of a new land has also been proposed in the blue sky phase. The Studio will have a more enhanced theme if most of the proposals go forward. The evoking of a more "stylized" Hollywood will be implemented and layered "plussing" of the front entrance is also under consideration with a couple blue sky ideas involving the "Golden Era" of Tinsel Town.
All in all, Disney's park outside the City of Lights is in for a good future... so long as Disney's European fans continue to rush through the turnstiles. So buy your tickets now, and keep buying and buying and buying them... Disney executives are watching. WDI is planning some pretty amazing stuff that could see the light of day if the clicks keep going up.
That's it for this update. Stay tuned for future Blue Sky Alerts in July, so long as my paranoid contacts(read: Bothans) don't get fired...